If you’re in the market of buying a pool table, you’ll no doubt quickly come to the conclusion that you have two main options. You can invest in a slate pool table for a “proper” pool playing experience that’s built to last, or a wooden surfaced pool table that is considerably cheaper. They both have their advantages and their relative disadvantages: slate is water and warp resistant and offers a particular sound and feel, yet it’s extremely heavy and quite expensive. Wood, on the other hand (most often MDF or plywood) is much lighter in weight, less expensive, but is notorious for warping.
So what if there was another option, something that offered the best of both worlds? Well, that’s exactly what Precision SL8 is. This new base is a manufactured material designed for pool table beds that’s essentially a “middle-ground” between slate and wood. It’s constructed to produce the advantages of both slate and wood whilst losing the disadvantages. And the end result achieves exactly that.
First off, Precision SL8 has a hard, dense feel and sound to it, similar to that of slate, offering a noticeable difference over wood. The ball rolls well and sounds much more like it should i.e. like when on a slate table. It’s also more resistant to water like slate and thus much more warp resistant. That’s arguably the biggest downside to wood surfaced pool tables – their tendency to warp – so it’s a nice attribute for Precision SL8 to have.
As for qualities similar to that of wood, Precision SL8 is relatively lightweight. This means it can be installed as one seamless panel and can be installed yourself with the help of a friend or two. Traditional slate on the other hand will usually come in three separate panels and will require professional installation, or at least a few strong mates! Much like wood, Precision SL8 is also much more affordable. It’s priced mid-way between your average slate table and your average wood surfaced pool table, understandably reflecting its attributes.
Overall, while a slate table will always offer the best level of play quality if you have the budget, Precision SL8 is the next best thing and is arguably the better option for a lot of people wanting a pool table in their own home. It literally does offer the best of both worlds while eliminating the disadvantages, so makes for a great compromise!